A 33 year old man from Sydney was arrested and charged by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for allegedly manipulating the computer programs of a federal governmental agency to mine cryptocurrency while being employed as a government IT contractor.
According to the AFP statement, the man had allegedly used the processing power of the agency’s computer network to mine cryptocurrency. The profits from the alleged mining operation are estimated to be worth more than AU$9,000.
The man is set to appear in Sydney Local Court on Tuesday for two charges: Modifying data to cause impairment and modifying restricted data without authorisation.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and two years imprisonment, respectively.
Prior to the court appearance, AFP officers had conducted a search of the man’s Sydney home on 5 March 2018, and seized a personal laptop, phone, employee ID cards, and “data files”.
“Australian taxpayers put their trust in public officials to perform vital roles for our community with the utmost integrity. Any alleged criminal conduct which betrays this trust for personal gain will be investigated and prosecuted,” AFP acting commander and manager of cybercrime operations Chris Goldsmid said.
A similar incident occurred in March last year, when it was reported that two Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) staff were being investigated over allegations they were using the bureau’s equipment to mine cryptocurrency. The AFP confirmed that it had executed a search warrant of the BOM premises on 28 February 2018 for the investigation.
During that same month, a Victorian man was arrested and charged for allegedly directing the operations of a criminal syndicate, which used cryptocurrency accounts for the sourcing, payment, and distribution of approximately 30 kilograms of drugs.
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